BEING A full and true ACCOUNT of one Mr John Jones, a Gentleman's Son in Wiltshire, whose Father left him an Estate of twelve hundred Pounds a Year, and married a Lady of a great Fortune in the same Place, but being reduced to Poverty and Want with riotous Living, he killed his wife and Children, and afterwards hanged his Mother on a tree in the Orchard. With the last dying Words of this Wretch, who was hanged before his Mother's Door, July 30 last. PROVERBS, Chap. XXX. 17. The Eye that mocketh his Father, and despiseth to obey the Voice of his Mother the Ravens of the Valley shall pick it out, and the young Eagles shall eat it.

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British Library - Roxburghe, C.20.f.9.788; EBBA 31485


YOU Parents all that now these Lines do hear,
Observe them well, Im sure youll shed a Tear,
The like of this scarce ever yet was known,
The World it is so very wicked grown.

In Wiltshire, there a wealthy Man did dwell,
He had one only Son, tis known full well:
His Parents they did greatly him adore,
And he indeed was Heir to all their Store.

His tender Father, as we understand,
Was snatchd away by Deaths most cruel Hand;
Before his Son arrivd to sixteen Years,
Leaving his Loving Wife in Floods of Tears.

She very tender was of her Son dear,
The best that could be bought this Son must wear,
And all he desird, she neer it denyd,
At length he grew to such a Height of Pride:

At Cards and Dice her Substance hed confound,
Nothing but Vice did in this Youth abound;
He oft would curse his Mother to her Face,
When she did tell him of his wickd Race.

At last unto a charming Maiden fair,
He married was, as I to you declare,
Six hundred Pounds he had with her tis known,
But her dear Parents they were dead and gone.

He seemed for to love her as his Life,
But now observe what caused all the Strife;
He on a Woman Harlot cast an Eye,
And often would frequent her Company.

The richest of Attire he woud her buy,
He spard no Cost, but let his Money fly,
For to maintain his Harlot in her Pride,
Nothing that she did ask must be denyd.

At last his Wife she of the same did hear,
And oft would say to him my dearest Dear,
These wicked Courses that you do take, in Time,
To Poverty they will bring me and mine.

Two lovely Children by his Wife he had,
Which might have made a Fathers Heart full glad,
But he was barbarous. cruel and severe,
To his Wife, his Mother, and his Children dear.

At last his Substance very short did grow,
Yet to his wicked Harlot would he go;
And when his Money it grew very scant.
His Miss grew cold, and seemed discontent.

Saying, this Trade will never do with me,
Then to his Wife and Children would he flee,
Their Rings and Cloaths, and all that he could find,
Hed bring to her, their cries he did not mind.

At last this Course he could no longer run,
His Wife, poor Soul, her Substance it was gone:
His aged Mother had but little left,
And almost of her Senses was bereft.

One Day as Miss and him together were,
She in a Passion said, I do declare,
If you some Money do not get for me,
I will no longer keep your Company.

He in a Fury to his Wife went Home,
And found her with her Babes making sad Moan,
Some Money I will have, to her did say,
Or else Ill Murder you this very Day.

My Dear, said she, I have none to give you,
With that he in a Passion straightway flew,
And barring up the Door, to her did come,
And threw her on the Floor there along.

He gaggd her Mouth and bound her evry Limb,
At last one of the Children said to him,
Father, do not my Morher kill, I pray,
For a Bit of Bread we have not touchd To-day.

He turnd about, and on the Child did gaze,
The Devil did his Reason so amaze.
He with a Knife that was so keen and sharp,
Did stab this tender Babe unto the Heart.

His loving Wife she saw the Deed hed done,
While Tears did from her Eyes like Fountains run
What! dost thou weep to see thy Darling die?
I will dispatch thee likewise instantly.

Then with the Knife that killd her infant dear,
Her Throat he straight did cut from Ear to Ear:
The other Infant straight aloud did cry,
To see his Mother there a bleeding lie.

He straightway went and took her by the Hand,
While the poor Babe did there a trembling stand:
Thy Life I fain would save, to it did say,
But I do fear that you would me betray.

But three Years old, this Infant was no more,
He also laid it wallowing in its Gore:
And then to search the House he did begin,
But no Money he could find therein.

So then straightway out of the House he went,
The Doors did fasten, being discontent;
Unto his aged Mother he did go,
Whose tender Heart was over-whelmd with Woe

His Mother straightway rose her Son to meet,
And presently fetchd him some food to eat:
Saying, youre melancholy, my dear Son,
Im sorry, he replyd, for what Ive done.

For Joy his aged Mother wept amain,
And will my Son his wickedness refrain,
That I may Comfort have in thee, my Son
But little did she think what he had done.

At length this cruel Wretch, so void of Grace,
He with his Hand did strike her on the Face,
And gaggd her Mouth in dismal Sort also,
And by the Hair, he draggd her to and fro.

Unto the Orchard he did drag her there,
And on a Tree hangd her up by the Hair;
Tying her aged Arms likewise behind,
Saying, Now thy Money Ill go find.

When he had taken all that he could find,
Unto his Harlot straightway he did hie,
And told her all the Things that he had done,
And how his Mother on a Tree hed hung.

She answerd, why did you not kill her too?
Come instantly, to London let us go,
He replyd, my Dear, it shall be so,
But God above the Matter all doth know.

Next Day one of his Neghbours did espy,
His Mother hanging on a Tree so high
The same did raise the Town, the Sight to see
Who took her breathless Corpse from off the Tree.

And running straightway for to call her Son,
As soon as eer unto the House they came,
They found it fastened, no Answer made,
Which put their Hearts in further Fear and Dread.

The Doors they then broke open with all Speed,
A Sight would make a Heart of Stone to bleed,
To see the Mother and her Infants dear,
Lie in their Gore, Lord! what a sight was there.

Murder, O Lord, is hateful to thy Sight,
Thy divine Providence brings it to Light,
The Murderer was taken on the Road,
And unto Justice brought with one Accord.

He was condemnd to suffer for the the same,
And after Death for to be hung in Chains:
As soon as he came to the fatal Tree,
He wept and wrung his hands most bitterly.

Saying Christians all, pray for my sinful Soul,
My Sins indeed are very gross and foul,
My Wife, my Mother, and my Children dear,
For Murdering them I now must suffer here.

My Infants Blood for Vengeance now doth cry,
My virtuous Wife she stands before my Eyes,
My aged Mother too, methinks I see:
You graceless Children all be ruld by me.

Besure you shun lewd Harlots Company,
You with a virtuous Wife may happy be;
But I, cruel Wretch! her Blood most dear did spill,
That never did nor thought me any Ill.

How can I cast my Eyes to Heaven high?
O blessed Saviour do not me deny:
I hope good Christians for my Soul youll pray,
When this he spoke, the Cart i[t] drew away.

You Parents, and likewise you Children pray,
Observe what I do say to you this Day;
You Children mind your Parents, serve the Lord,
A Crown of Glory will be your Reward.

Method of Punishment

hanging in chains







“THE DISOBEDIENT SON AND CRUEL HUSBAND.,” Execution Ballads, accessed June 24, 2024,

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